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Belong.Life Announces Two Studies Based on Real-World Patient Data at ASCO 2023

Blood cells in a vessel.
Credit: Narupon Promvichai/ Pixabay
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Belong.Life has announced that the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has published two abstracts in its 2023 Annual Meeting Abstract Book based on data aggregated from the Belong Beating Cancer Together app. The abstracts provide key insights into significant challenges for oncology patients, including impaired quality of life and the increased risk of developing a cancer associated thrombosis event.

The first study (abstract 6592) examined the prevalence of restrictive behavioral practices among cancer patients, analyzing restrictions related to interactions with others, visiting public places and more. The second study (abstract e18774) explored patients’ awareness of the heightened risk of developing a cancer associated thrombosis (CAT) event, a potentially fatal complication in which the pro-coagulation properties in cancer cells along with anti-cancer treatments contribute to the development of blood clots. The data for these studies was collected on Beating Cancer Together, the largest high-engagement digital community for people with cancer and their caregivers, used by one in ten cancer patients in the United States.

“Our aggregated real-world data uncovers critical observations, enhancing the understanding of true patient journeys and providing invaluable insights for physicians, patients and the global oncology ecosystem,” said Belong.Life CEO Eliran Malki. “We are grateful to our researchers and clinicians for shedding light onto crucial issues in cancer care, as well as to the committed Belongers who took the time to participate in these studies. Belong is dedicated to continue utilizing technology to empower and support patients around the world.”

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The first study analyzed 1,395 patients receiving active cancer therapy who reported their real-world behaviors through a questionnaire validated by the oncology division of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and distributed internationally on Belong’s Beating Cancer Together platform. In a questionnaire that included nine daily life restrictions, 73% of patients reported at least one limitation in their daily activities, and 22% reported following more than half of the constraints listed in the survey. Daily life restrictions included avoiding sun exposure (779, 58%), international travel (417, 33%), visiting indoor public places (malls, etc.) (431, 33%), hair dyeing (271, 23%), domestic tourism (284, 22%), contact with friends and family (231, 18%), contact with children and grandchildren (202, 16%), visiting outdoor public spaces (190, 15%), and contact with pets (135, 10%).

“Most quality-of-life assessments used today do not measure patients’ ability to maintain normal daily activities during treatment, rather they focus on rigid health-related criteria,” explained Belong.Life Medical Director and Co-author of the study, Dr. Daniel Vorobiof, "This study highlights for pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers and clinical investigators the importance of including real-life quality of life assessments as additional endpoints in clinical trials.”

"Quality of life cannot be evaluated solely by studying signs and symptoms. The goal of cancer therapy is to provide patients with the ability to conduct a full and meaningful life. However, too many of our patients restrict their daily activities in ways that conflict with this goal," said Prof. Ido Wolf, Head of the Oncology Division at Tel Aviv Medical Center. "Part of this behavior stems from misconceptions of the patients and families, but part is related to instructions and disinformation provided by us, the medical teams. The medical community should address this issue by educating both the patients and the health care community."

The second study analyzed cancer patient awareness surrounding CAT risk. The presence of a CAT can greatly impact a cancer patient's clinical outcomes, making it critical for patients and caregivers to be aware of their increased risk. The study showed that 71% of patients were not aware of their CAT risk at the time of the survey. The majority (51%) of verbal information patients received on CAT risk was from medical staff, while family and friends provided mostly internet and social media guidance (73%). This points to a pronounced need for education and awareness of CAT risk factors, sign and symptoms, and available diagnostic imaging and treatment approaches.

“These global studies stress the importance of reliable patient education during the cancer journey,” added Belong.Life Medical Director and Co-author of both studies, Dr. Daniel Vorobiof. “Lack of validated information and exposure to misconceptions can negatively affect patients’ quality of life and put their health and safety at risk. Additionally, it is crucial for medical researchers and those involved in clinical trials to incorporate real-world data and measurements into their endpoints to appropriately gauge patients’ real-life experiences.”

ASCO’s annual meeting is taking place from June 2 – 6 both virtually and in-person in Chicago, IL.